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Speaks and Dozier named Paladin athletes of the year

Furman’s best were honored recently at the school’s all-sports awards banquet, highlighted by the best of the best – Dakota Dozier and Ansley Speaks, who were named the Paladin male and female athletes of the year, respectively.

Dozier, a senior and fourth round pick by the New York Jets in the NFL draft, was named first-team All-America and All-Southern Conference as an offensive tackle. A 6-4, 313-pound native of West Columbia, Dozier also served as team captain in leading the Paladins to six wins in their final eight games and the SoCon championship, earning a spot in the prestigious East-West Shrine Game in the process. According to some Web sites he is the sixth-best offensive guard available in the draft.

Speaks, meanwhile, capped a marvelous inaugural college season on the tennis team by being named the SoCon Freshman and Player of the Year. The Simpsonville native, ranked 19th nationally as a prep competitor, barely missed a beat from her days as a multiple state champion at Mauldin High in posting a 16-5 singles record, including a 7-1 mark at No. 1 in league play that propelled the Paladins to their first SoCon regular-season championship since 2009 with a perfect 9-0 record. She also posted a 4.0 GPA.

Other individual awards went to volleyball star Christina Dorismond, who was honored with the Student-Athlete Achievement and Elizabeth Blackwell Academic Achievement Awards, and baseball shortstop Hunter Burton, who won the John M. Block Academic Achievement Award.

A chemistry major with a 3.97 GPA, Dorismond’s trophy shelf is nearing capacity. She is a member of several honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Alpha Epsilon Delta, Phi Eta Sigma and the Senior Order, an elite leadership honor society for women at Furman, and in 2013 she won the Winston Babb Memorial Award, given annually by the Furman chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa to the woman in each class who has demonstrated the most outstanding qualities of leadership, scholarship and service to the industry.

That’s not all. Dorismond was recently chosen to receive the President’s Award, one of Furman’s most prestigious honors, as well as NCAA Post-graduate and SoCon Graduate Scholarships. As a player, the product of Cardinal Gibbons High in Cary, N.C., was a first-team All-SoCon middle blocker, leading the Paladins in kills as the team went 17-12 and finished second in the league. Dorismond had a career-high 23 kills in Furman’s first win over South Carolina ever.

Burton, a four-year starter who came to Furman from Palmetto High in Williamston, has a 3.75 GPA in business administration, is a member of Phi Eta Sigma honor society and was honored with Furman’s Excellence in Business Award, which is given to the university’s top two business majors. He’s also an excellent player, leading the nation with 33 stolen bases to go with a .309 batting average.

Also recognized were five SoCon title teams, eight league freshmen of the year and seven conference coaches of the year. Here’s a complete list of winners:


  • Male Athlete of the Year: Dakota Dozier, football
  • Edna Hartness Female Athlete of the Year: Ansley Speaks, tennis
  • Student-Athlete Achievement Award: Christina Dorismond, volleyball
  • Elizabeth Blackwell Academic Achievement Award: Christina Dorismond, volleyball
  • John M. Block Academic Achievement Award: Hunter Burton, baseball
  • Men’s basketball MVP: Stephen Croone
  • Men’s tennis MVP: Joel Cook
  • Men’s golf MVP: Bryce Howell
  • Men’s soccer MVP: Sven Lissek
  • Men’s cross country MVP: Tripp Hurt
  • Men’s indoor track and field MVP: Tripp Hurt
  • Men’s outdoor track and field MVP: Tripp Hurt
  • Women’s basketball MVP: Brittany Hodges
  • Women’s tennis MVP: Ansley Speaks
  • Women’s Golf MVP: Taylor Totland
  • Women’s soccer MVPs: Alyssa Altoff and India Robinson
  • Women’s cross country: Allie Buchalski
  • Women’s indoor track and field MVP: Grace Tinkey
  • Women’s outdoor track and field MVP: Sinead Haughey
  • Softball MVP: Lauren Collier
  • Volleyball MVP: Christina Dorismond
  • Unsung Hero: Ray Early, football
  • Comeback Player of the Year: Tripp Hurt, men’s cross country/track
  • Play of the Year: Stephen Croone, men’s basketball (second half dunk vs. The Citadel)
  • Male Rookie of the Year: Bobby Edet, men’s soccer
  • Female Rookie of the Year: Carlie Couch, women’s soccer
  • Best Underdog Victory: Volleyball defeating South Carolina 3-1
  • Record Breaking Performance: Brigid Morrissey, women’s basketball (set season assist record)
  • Best Game: Football vs. Wofford (27-14 SoCon title-clinching win)
  • Best Team: Women’s soccer
  • Golden Paladin Award (given to a team for athletic achievement, academic achievement, community service and game attendance): Women’s soccer
  • SoCon championship teams: Football, women’s soccer, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, women’s tennis
  • SoCon freshmen of the year: Bobby Edet, men’s soccer; Carlie Couch, women’s soccer; Allie Buchalski, women’s cross country/track & field; Troy Reeder, men’s cross country/track & field; Ashton Gregory, volleyball; Ansley Speaks, women’s tennis; Adam Steryous, men’s tennis; Taylor Totland, women’s golf
  • SoCon coaches of the year: Bruce Fowler, football; Andrew Burr, women’s soccer; Michelle Young, volleyball; Robert Gary, men’s and women’s cross country; Jackie Carson, women’s basketball; Debbie Southern, women’s tennis


Last updated May 13, 2014
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director